A high hot water usage and customer demand for fast washing and drying services means laundry businesses share significant energy challenges, despite normally occupying small premises. Kingsway Laundry were consuming a lot of gas for their dryers and old water heater which fed their washing machines. This heater stored unused hot water and frequently required maintenance, making it wasteful and inefficient. Uninsulated pipework to washing machines also meant valuable heat was being lost along the way. Aware of these issues, Director Chris Hills had ambitions to reduce their heavy reliance on gas and upgrade to a more efficient heating system.
Kingsway Laundry were awarded a £15,000 Green Business Grant to replace their gas-fired water heater with a highly efficient air-to-water heat pump system, with pipe insulation added on the hot feeds to the washing machines. They also installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity on site, supporting the new heat pump system. These bold actions were estimated to result in:
Chris has been “very impressed” with how efficiently the air-source heat pumps have heated up their water and kept up with customer demand during peak times, especially in the winter. He estimates they are operating between 300% and 400% efficiency most of the time. The solar panels have also exceeded expectations.
Having discovered from the Carbon Survey that a lot of energy was being used out-of-hours, Chris has also carried out ‘quick fixes’ by "using timers and removing unnecessary items", as well as "adding thick insulation around our water tank and all hot water pipes."
"The solar panels have impressed us with their output, covering far more of our demand than we expected!"
Having installed an air-to-water heat pump system and solar panels, Kingsway Laundry plans to continue making carbon-saving improvements. These include adding auto-dosing detergent to washers, reducing packaging waste, as well as motion sensors for lighting. They also plan to install more solar panels and a large storage battery “to help cover even more of our electrical usage, especially when charging the electric vehicles.”
Chris did acknowledge the difficulty of replacing his gas dryers with electric models, as a drying cycle would take a lot longer, but would be keen to make the switch if the technology improves in the future.
"I think [small and medium enterprises] are essential [to drive down greenhouse gas emissions]… it is maybe easier for a smaller business to make changes in a timely manner and, as there are so many of us, we can make a large difference as a group."
"We think being ‘green’ and responsible is incredibly important, and being seen to do so helps others follow suit. It is also very important to our customers and business clients wanting to ensure their own laundry is being processed responsibly. With the price of gas going up so dramatically recently, moving from gas to electric water heating has helped us financially too."
CO2e savings calculated using BEIS Conversion Factors 2017. Energy costs calculated from BEIS Energy and Emissions Projections 2018, using 2020 retail prices. West of England Green Business Grants 2019-2023 is funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund and the West of England Combined Authority’s Recovery Fund.